Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, has signed two contracts, valued at $15.62 million each, to undertake river training works at the Yallahs River in St. Thomas.
The contracts, which were signed during a brief ceremony at the Ministry, Maxfield Avenue, Kingston, on Friday (February 26), were awarded to L&K Construction and Sean D Construction Company Limited.
Outlining the scope of works, Mr. Henry said that this would entail packing of boulders in baskets located along the river’s edge and along the mound created with river bed material; depositing of top soil in this area; and planting of vegetation, including wild cane, in the soil.
He advised that funding is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and that work is scheduled to get underway on March 8, and will last for six months.
“It’s a continuation of works (which) commenced in 2009. Last year, each of (the) four contractors (involved) undertook 152 metres of river training. This year, each contractor will undertake 225 metres of river training protective works. It is intended to engage the services of two additional contractors.however, the procurement process is yet to be completed,” the Minister stated.
Mr. Henry said that, as part of its river training programme, the National Works Agency (NWA) has undertaken the earth works aspect of the project. He disclosed that this includes shoring up river bed material and realigning and clearing the channel.
“Last year, $78 million was spent on this aspect of the project. This year, $40 million will be spent,” he explained.
Member of Parliament for Western St. Thomas in which the project is located, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, described the project as a “dream and pleasure.”
He pointed out that it was the third phase of works undertaken in that area. The first and second involved construction of a bridge and initial river training works.
“When you speak about. river training in the Yallahs River area, and the protection of the White Horses area, you are speaking about saving lives. In my short stint of seven years as Member of Parliament, we have lost many, many lives, because of the weaknesses in our river training (activities). So this (current phase of the project) is major,” Mr. Robertson said.